and Ann Beardsley were the only two female convicts tried at the Derby Assizes. Elizabeth being 19 at the time of her time trial, was possibly the daughter of Humphrey and Mary Clark whose baptism was registered at Scopton, Derbyshire, in August 1766.
On 11 January 1785, at the Derby Epiphany Sessions, Elizabeth Clark, late of the parish of Ashbourne in this County, Spinster, in the custody of Blyth Simpson, keeper of his Majesty’s Gaol for this County and being brought before this Court and Indicted Arraigned and tried for feloniously stealing taking and carrying away one Striped Gown intermixed with Silk and worsted of the value of five shillings, one red and white Cotton Handkerchief of the value of one shilling, and one Check Apron of the value of sixpence, of the Goods and Chattels of one Joseph Buckley, and being found guilty thereof This Court doth order that the said Elizabeth Clarke be transported as soon as conveniently may be to some or one of his Majesty’s Colonies or Plantations in America for the Term of Seven years to be computed from the time of her conviction.
Only a brief report on her trial was written in the Derby Mercury 6 – 13 January 1785.
At the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace for this County, which ended Yesterday at the Shire Hall, Elizabeth Clark, of Foston, was convicted of stealing a Quantity of wearing apparel, and ordered to be transported to America for the Term of Seven Years.
Elizabeth was received on the Dunkirk Hulk two days later and was there until 11 March 1787, when she was discharged to Friendship.
At the Cape of Good Hope, to make room for the loading of live-stock, Elizabeth, and other convict women were transferred to Prince of Wales.
Elizabeth stood before the sitting magistrates when they met on Tuesday 27 May 1788. Having been very much in liquor at the time, Elizabeth was charged with using abusive language to Private William Norris, calling him a bougre after he struck her. She was found guilty and sentenced to be tied to a cart’s tail and flogged publicity once up and once down the women’s camp on the western side of the cove. The case was re-opened. Through fear, Elizabeth had omitted to state that she had been in intimacy with Norris on the same ship. Witnesses Robert Allen and John Hawk said Norris had stuck Elizabeth and called her a bloody whore. She was then forgiven her punishment.
On 1st August 1788, Elizabeth was falsely accused by Elizabeth Mason of selling her a shirt belonging to Mr Brown for 3 pints of rum. Mason had stolen the shirt, but in her defence said she would return the shirt to Mr Brown and give him another. The case was dismissed.
It was recorded on Tuesday 4 September 1788, that Elizabeth Clark convict, was buried.
Bull, Ann, Local Historian, Derbyshire
Cobley, John, Sydney Cove 1788
Gillen, Mollie, The Founders of Australia